The Texas Gentlemen’s Daniel Creamer on the band’s debut album, ahead of Saturday’s Record Bar show

The Texas Gentlemen’s debut album, TX Jelly, is straight out of the 1970s, incorporating elements of country, funk, singer-songwriter, and psychedelic rock to make an album that’s as infectious as all get out. It’s rough-edged and loose, a whole Saturday-night party conveniently tracked onto one LP.

The band has backed the likes of Leon Bridges, Nikki Lane, George Strait and Ed Sheeran, to name a few, but TX Jelly marks its first release as a proper group — which makes the Gentlemen’s upcoming tour all the more exciting. I spoke with the band’s pianist, Daniel Creamer, via email about the new record.

The Pitch: What led you all to get together and record your own tunes, rather than just acting as a backing band? 

Daniel Creamer:
A few of us had already done our own personal projects, but we all met while backing up other artists such as Philip Creamer, Kirby Brown and Jonathan Tyler. So it wasn’t a far leap to us making our own music. The origins of this specific grouping of people we’ve got now took place at a residency we picked up for another band at a small venue in Dallas called Sundown. It was super last second, so we just threw together a bunch of our favorite tunes and played those. So we kept doing that as well as backing other artists until, eventually, we realized we needed to create our own music that was specific to the Texas Gentlemen. But we still act like a backing band. We’re our own backing band now. 

How does it feel, getting ready to play your own songs for this upcoming tour, rather than learning someone else’s? 

We’re all ready to get out on the road and hone this material in. It certainly is freeing to know that you’re not just trying to meet someone else’s vision. Now, we just get to jam and do what makes us happy, which allows for more exploration, and that’s something we all really enjoy. 

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TX Jelly is very rootsy, but it’s also very diverse. The funk and psychedelic elements sit side-by-side with the country elements so well. Did these songs — specifically, the instrumentals like “Habbie Doobie” and the title track — grow out of jams? They’re just so loose. 

For the most part, all of the songs are just what each songwriter brought to the table and pretty honest representations of that. Yes, “Habbie Doobie” came from a jam that [guitarist] Nik Lee and I used to play years ago. One day, we were just mumbling that phrase for some reason and wound up sticking it to that tune. But a lot of the music we’ve been working on comes from little musical things someone just came up with on the spot, and we’ll chase it down and make it into a song. 

Recording this in Muscle Shoals: Did that help get you in the right mood for these songs? 

Muscle Shoals and, specifically, Fame studios has a great vibe. It’s nothing too fancy, just soulful and right. Of course, we wanted to tap into some of the magic that’s been made in that room, but we were certainly feeling it. 

Similarly, did that help add the timeless sort of sound to the album? It really feels like it could’ve come straight out of the ’70s. 

I think a lot of what gave it that kind of ’70s vibe came from our personalities and just not being precious with the recording process. We just had fun with it and committed to what we were doing and that mindset existed in a lot the old recordings we love.  

Why cover “Shakin’ All Over,” and especially with that sitar-like guitar? 

We started covering “Shaking All Over” a couple of years ago after I heard it on a Flamin’ Groovies record and it became a staple of our set. One day in the studio we did an entire set of cover songs all in a row without stopping and of course we ended that set with shaking all over. I spotted the sitar guitar and it just felt right for that tune, so we went with it. 

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Your videos have some great cinematic inspiration. Is that a big influence for you guys? 

We all like to goof off and play characters when we’re on the road and killing time, so the videos are really an extension of that sheer childishness. 

The Texas Gentlemen play Record Bar on Saturday, November 11 with Paul Cauthen. Details on that show here.